North-east: why now?

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It was Ronald Reagan who once opinionated that ?government first duty is to protect people not run their live?. Here, it is not out of place to demand if the occupants of Aso rock know this ?kpim? of governance as expressed by Ronald Reagan because their policies, programmes and projects are first and foremost meant to serve their mundane interests, that of their cronies and shameless allies oversea. As for the masses, they can run and hug a transformer or kiss a viper. Who cares?
wpid-nigeria-flag.jpgThe other times, I wrote a piece (Nigeria: when a corward is in-charge) which generated reactions from Nigerians of all works of lives. The papacy of Pope Francis that was few months old then had capture my heart and I was quick to express my love for the leadership acumen of the Argentine vicar of Christ unlike the mediocre and inept ?leadership? that Mr president is providing for Nigeria and Nigerians making us a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
Pope Francis on assuming the herculean task of the Bishop of Rome did not waste time in telling who ever that has ears that it was not going to be business as usual. Inefficiency, megalomania, corruption and indiscipline had eaten deep into the fabric of the Holy See. High ranking Vatican officials who were supposed to be serving God, the church and the poor were busy serving themselves and their cronies.
However, Pope Francis proved that he can bit without barking. His Holiness did not waste time in stepping on the toes of hitherto sacred cows. Introducing reforms that sanitized the Holy See and sending ?priests? who had titles without substance to the Vatican dustbin. That is a leader for you, that is Pope Francis the leader of the world smallest country, the Vatican City solving problems with accuracy
On Friday 27 2015, I got to the Newspaper stand only to see the picture of a ?bloody civilian? on a camouflage and holding a walking stick. Litanies of questions roomed about on my mind. What is Mr President doing? Why is he wearing a military uniform? Where is he and why the choice of the excursion? Reports has it that he first went to Mubi a major town in Adamawa state seized by the haramist few months ago before flying from the Yola airport to Maiduguri the Bornu state capital and then travelled by helicopter to Baga, a robust economic town totally destroyed by the sons of haram. It is the zenith of foolery for a President who presided over the looting and squandering of our resources to think that he will win our hearts with a ?useless? visit to Bama? Did get just realized, that Bama is part of the Federal Republic? For more than half a decade that he embraced corruption, impunity, disregard to rule of law and executive rascality, Boko haram militants were busy maiming Nigerians and reducing their towns and villages to ashes, Mr President was nowhere to be found. Where was Mr President when our daughter and sisters were kidnapped from their school in Chibok . When the Haram monsters struck Niger Republic, President Yusuf Mouhamedou visited the area within 24 hours and Mr President is expecting us to clap for him for visiting Bama after many months habah!.
It is a pity that more than two decade after late magical writer Prof Chinua Achebe lamented that the problem of Nigeria revolves and rotates around bad and corrupt leaders Mr President and his cronies cannot prove him wrong. A time, though Mr President is a PHD holder, I wonder if he did elementary economics in his secondary school days. Probably he was buy dodging classes or worst still ?expo? and ?sorting? did the magic for him or was he selling fish in Otuoke the day his economics teacher taught ?the scale of preference? . walahi, his actions and inactions since he became the C-in-C questions every Diploma, Degree or Academic titles he parades. Common sense should have told Mr President that even if Nigerians should forgive the mortal sin he committed by collaborating with the service Chiefs to temper with the electoral time table, we may not have a large heart over his ?Bama excursion? .
what we need is not an aimless visit to Bama but a workable plan in terms of health care, Education, Industrial Development, Infrastructure, Youth empowerment, protection of fundamental human rights, rule of law, and a crime free Nigeria.
Nigeria: Isaac vs Ishmael,
I am writing this piece from kontagora in Niger state. Kontagora town is about 5 hours drive from Minna the Niger state capital. Kontagora is also the home town of late General Mamman kontagora. Though a largely Muslim town, kontagora hosts the cathedral of Bishop Bulus Yohanna Dauwa, a kamberi cleric and the first indigenous Bishop of kontagora Catholic Apostolic vicariate.
Permit my digression. For those of us who are Catholics is a period of lent . I had to quickly put down this piece because the first reading of this second Sunday of lent (2-03-15) centers on Abraham. A Jew widely acclaimed as the father of faith in Christendom.
Many things give me discomfort about Nigeria and chief among this is the fact that Christians and Muslims have failed to realize that they are all children of God created in his image and likeness. Millions of lives and properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed in the name of religion. Truth be told, most of this unwarranted brutality happen in the North and are championed by late preachers but the South is not free from this crime. I have seen peaceful and easy going Muslims who are insulted or face isolation because of their religion.
Recently, against all presumptions and fear, I refused to leave Arewa . Why should I, after all we sing, dance and shout one Nigeria or is Nigeria now two? Moreover, I see no sense in relocating to the East just because of an election.
After the cancellation of the Presidential elections and some ?run away? Easterner?s returned, I joined a handful of them in a restaurant and got the shocker of my life from that brief encounter.
It is a pity that people who should known better haven fallen victims to the propaganda of religious bigot, apostle of falsehood and enemies of peace and progress. Why on earth should any right thinking Nigeria see the Presidential election and by extension Nigeria as a battle ground for dominance and supremacy between descendents of Isaac and Ishmael, say the legitimate son of Abraham from his wife Sarah and his illegitimate sons from his slave Haggai?
I will not claim to be a historian or is my knowledge of the bible of a dogmatic worth. I know that with Christians and Muslims hold Abraham in high esteem but pardon my ignorance if I cannot tell you explicitly, if Christianity has its roots from Isaac and Islam from Ishmael. However, Nigeria, being a country with ?k-leg? hate preachers can fabricate anything and use it in sowing the seed of violence, discord and disunity
Even if Christianity is traceable to Isaac and Islam to Ishmael, what is a big deal about that? Is Nigeria the only nation with the adherents of these two religions?
Jordan is a country where Christians and Muslims live together happily and this proves the fact that Islam and Christianity can co-exist peacefully in any multi-religious state. Nigerians must realize that God who made Nigeria a pluralist state is not foolish. There is no way Nigeria can be Islamized or Christianized and there is nothing one can do about it. They earlier we begin mending broken walls and building bridges the better for us.
Nigeria: Run today, return tomorrow
Till now, I am still busy like a bee in an active apiary. Busy struggling for my daily bread like most Nigerians but also busy thinking about Nigeria, about the once giant of Africa that have became a case study in the international community for corruption and poor leadership.
As things are in Nigeria now, just as I wrote recently, it will take an overdose of what theologians call faith to believe in one Nigeria. The insecurity, politics of bitterness and hatred and general ?katakata? have not helped issues. Even disciples of one Nigeria and Apostles of ?united we stand? have seen the handwriting on the word that Nigeria is a mere geographical expression as opinioned by one of our founding fathers.
Ahead of the re-scheduled February fourteen presidential election, Nigerian roads were very busy, shops were closed, students were withdrawn from school, and offices were abandoned as Nigerians ran to their ethnic or regional enclaves. Research told it happened before and after pogrom of the sixties, in 1993 after our beloved Maradona annulled the freest and fairest election in Nigeria that was believed to be won by M.K Abiola. I was speechless as I watched ?Ndigbo? relocate to the East, Arewans return from the East and Oduduwas flee to the west. As I ruminated over the pitiable situation, I also wondered what Nigerians who claim that Nigeria is a Catholic marriage will be thinking about the ethnic based movement only because of an election that is held once in every four years.
The late Chinua Achebe captured the existential reality in Nigeria in his memoir: There was a country. While I disagreed and argued that there was never a country in the first instance sometime ago, deeper research about Nigeria proved there was once a nation in Africa were though tribe and tongue differed, citizen stood in brotherhood. I am taking about a Nigeria of yesterday when Saduana a Muslim travelled kilometers to congratulate a Christian student who did well in his exam. That young boy today is a Catholic Cardinal; John Onaiyikan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja. I mean a Nigeria where Muslims were given the opportunity to become the Mayor of Markudi and Enugu, two big Nigerian cities that are predominately Catholic and yet heaven did not fall. There was a Nigeria where Igbo became landlord in Arewa, lived peacefully without molestation and helped government in formulating programmes and policies that was to make Arewa the Dubia of Africa. Can we still remember a Nigeria where an Igbo man was the driver of the Sultan and lived within the royal court of his Eminence with his family and yet no one slew his throat in the name of ?Allah? before the evil of seed of ?Araba? northernization and ethnic cleansing was sowed in the north by the political class? Truly, Achebe was right and his memoir is worth a medal.
Here, so many questions come to mind. If Nigeria was one, why will an Igbo man abandon his business in kano to return to Asaba, why will Musa abandon his ?suya? business in Onitsha and run to Damaturu because of election? I am writing from a northern city of kontagora and I am about the only Nigerian of eastern extraction in the town three days before the change of the February 14 election in a town that could boast of about five thousand Easterners. An Alhaji whom I was having a breakfast with was visibly angry about the exodus of Easterners because of election while they have been peacefully doing business in the town all this while. He argued it was a sign of betrayal of trust and friendship. His youngest daughter even wanted to know why her classmates and friends from the East were running away from the town.
I refused to return to the East because it is in sharp disagreement with my belief that humanity is a constituency not to talk about Nigeria. If I am not free as a law abiding citizen to live in kontagora or any other part of Arewa because I am from the East and government cannot protect me, then I am free to say to hell with the green passport but I hope it will not come to that.
The Republic of Tchad once suffered similar division along ethnic and religious lines that Christians fled to the south and Muslims to the north. Today, the government of President Idris Dibby has changed the story and Tchad is now a peaceful and united nation.
If Nigerians do not believe in Nigeria, how can other Nations take us serious? We seem to forget that words may draw attention but actions assures conviction. Methinks it is senseless to run before elections and return after elections. Will an enemy before elections became a friend after elections?
Government must come in to ensure security of lives and properties anywhere, anytime in Nigeria. We can learn from our small brother Tchad, we can learn from Njamena.

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